The roads in the Central North Island can be difficult to handle at the BEST of times, and when it hits the winter season, things get noticeably risky.
Ski FM wants to keep you safe here in the Central North island, so here are our tips and tricks for driving in Winter driving conditions.
Check your tyres
Tyres should always have at least the 1.5mm Warrant of Fitness required tread depth, but in winter it’s even more important to make sure the tread isn’t worn out.
You can check it out at home by putting a match upside down into the tread. If the match head is visible, the tyres are too worn.
Make sure to keep an eye on your tyres air pressure as well. To make sure your tyres are full, open the driver door and check the manufacturer’s placard which has the right amount of pounds for the vehicle, or visit your local tyre shop to double check everything is up to scratch.
Keep up your car’s fluids
During the colder season, the antifreeze or ‘engine coolant’ in your car is even more important. As the name would suggest, it’s there to regulate the temperature of the car, and make sure the car starts without trouble in extreme climates.
If it’s looking low, you’re aiming for a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze, and topping it up to be full. If you want to check the mixture levels, most service stations and repair centres are happy to do this for free.
Change your wipers
Your windscreen wipers also get quite the workout in the icy months, and if you notice streaking, smearing, or a noise when you use them, it’s time to change the wiper blades.
Use lights and snow chains
In adverse weather conditions, drive with your lights on so that you’re visible to others on the road.
When driving in snow following distances must be increased and speed dramatically reduced.
Always select a lower gear or, if your vehicle has an additional snow or ice setting, make sure this is activated.
Keep snow chains in the car as well and make sure you practice putting them on. If in doubt, go to a garage and ask for help.
Take your time
In this day and age it feels like we need to get everything done in an instant, including our road journeys. Not only is that stressful, but incredibly dangerous!
In Winter conditions (or Summer for that matter), give yourself enough time to get from A to B. Slow down, extend your following distances and treat other on the road with patience.
Don’t drive through a flood
When faced with a flooded road, never risk driving through it. It is very difficult to judge how deep the water is and, if the water is moving fast, what’s being carried along in its flow.
Also it isn’t fun for any pedestrians walking past at the same time!
Carry a safety kit
Warm clothing, a bottle of water, quality, protected jumper cables and a fully charged cell phone should all be essential items in your car.
Preventative maintenance is key to keeping safe on the roads in any season, but if anything feels or sounds off while driving, make sure to get it checked out.
Check online for up to date Road Closures
In the Central North island, things can change in an instant. Roads can close creating diversions and warnings can crop up quickly too.
If things do go wrong
In the event of an emergency, dial 111.
For mechanical breakdowns, contact your breakdown service provider.
If you want to report or check current road conditions on the state highway call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49)
If you do get stuck, stay with the vehicle and keep everyone warm until help arrives.
If you are involved in a crash, tell the police even if no one is injured. This type of information helps us to make improvements to the road where necessary.